One in Christ

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10th in a series of short homilies on the Mass

The Second Vatican Council observed that the world longs for unity—and yet we always find different forces and divisions that drive people apart. How can this unity ever be achieved? The Council wrote:

God… does not make men holy and save them merely as individuals, without bond or link between one another. Rather has it pleased Him to bring men together as one people, a people which acknowledges Him in truth and serves Him in holiness. (Lumen gentium, 9)

And the Church that Christ calls and forms becomes “a lasting and sure seed of unity, hope and salvation for the whole human race.” A seed: small, but containing within itself that unity; and, as it draws persons into it, bringing them that unity that they long for.

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Gaudete Sunday: Find your joy in the Lord

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3rd Sunday of Advent, Year B: Dec. 11, 2011
Isa 61:1-2, 10-11; Luke 1; 1 Thess 5:16-24; John 1:6-8, 19-28

John the Baptist is one of the great figures of the Advent season. For during this season we look toward Christ’s Second Coming; and who better to help us prepare for that than John the Baptist, who helped the people of the first century prepare for Christ’s first coming. And how did he do that? He preached repentance—change; a turning away from sinful thoughts and attitudes and actions inside and sinful actions outside—to prepare the way of the Lord.

But it wasn’t just in his words and his action of baptizing that John prepared for the Lord. He also did so by who he was. (more…)

Love God with all your heart

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30th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year A: Oct. 23, 2011
Exod 22:20-26; Ps 18; 1 Thess 1:5-10; Matt 22:34-40

“Which commandment in the law is the greatest?” they ask Jesus. By a few centuries later, the rabbis would state in the Talmud that there were 613 commandments—both the negative prohibitions of what not to do and the positive commands of what to do. Which of these is the greatest? And Jesus’ answer is not just the top commandment out of 613, but that upon which the whole law and the prophets depend: the root, the organizing, pervading principle of them all.

And it is love.

It is love: not just a series of tasks to be fulfilled and sins to be avoided. It is love: not the Nirvana sought by Buddhism, (more…)